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Low Information Voters

Jen Sorensen
© Jen Sorensen

It is naive to think that most people pay any attention to who represents them in government. In fact, only around half of Americans know the party affiliation of their Congressperson. Another quarter didn’t answer, and the final quarter thought they knew, but were wrong.

This is even worse when you realize that if you just randomly guess, you have a 50% chance of guessing right (ignoring third parties). Yup, the percentage of people who know the party affiliation of their representative in Congress is virtually equal to random guessing.
And that’s for a relatively important office.

So without real information, people are going to vote on the basis of who blares out the most ads that appeal to people’s emotions. And this has been true since the first politicians who kissed babies or promised to be “tough on crime”.

And to the politician who is trying to buy votes, there is a strong advantage when the majority of the population are low information voters. It makes it cheaper to buy the votes you want because you don’t have to buy as many.

In some depressing sense, the Supreme Court was right. Money is speech, because words don’t have much actual meaning any more. Heck, we might have better elections if they just paid people to vote for a certain candidate.


One Comment

  1. Dave TN wrote:

    I was watching a documentary “The last patrol” and a interesting interview caught my ear. The premiss being some photo journalists and soldiers from Afghanistan are back in the states taking a hiking trip from Washington DC to upstate Pennsylvania along the railways to “decompress” from some traumatic events they had experienced there. They came to a lake and were asking around in an attempt to hitch a ride cross the lake. They came upon a beekeeper’s house at which they interviewed the resident, an elderly gentleman who preceded to explain how his bees were decimated by pesticide and how we will next. Then he concluded the conversation by saying how we need to get Obama out of the Whitehouse.
    The disconnect between who is pushing to use this pesticide and who opposes its use seem to be lost on this fellow, but he is not alone sadly enough. He was willing to vote for a party who were pushing use of a product which not only destroyed his business but will end the human race based on his conclusions.

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink